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Heather Strachan | OCA Director

Heather  is a native of Humboldt, Iowa, and attended Iowa State University, majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication.  Heather’s professional background includes campaign organization as well as public policy and program development, notably helping found the state and national Urban-Ag Academy initiatives in 2011-2012.

Heather’s mental health experience spans both the personal and professional.  Since 2014, Heather has been on the front lines of health care as a Certified Recovery Specialist at UnityPoint Berryhill Mental health Center in Fort Dodge, Iowa.  There she has served as a resource expert for the Integrated Health Home, partnership builder, and specialized in case management for victims of domestic violence who live with mental illness. In this capacity, she played a leading role in establishing a partnership between the Integrated Health Home and the local Emergency Department, and has been on the forefront of advocating for the use of peer providers in crisis and emergency services.  She is also currently a curriculum reviewer for the University of Iowa’s Peer Support Training program.  She has served on the Advisory Committee of the Iowa Office of Consumer Affairs since November 2016.

Joshua Gitch| Peer Support Manager

Josh Gitch grew up on a dairy farm just outside the big city of Frederika, Iowa (population 200).  Josh graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre.  Josh worked for seven years as a middle/high school baseball coach for Tripoli.  He’s also been a middle/high school substitute teacher, material specialist at John Deere, middle/high school wrestling official and went back to dairy farming for three years before becoming a Peer Support Specialist.  Josh has been a PSS for the past two years with Black Hawk-Grundy Mental Health’s Peer Support Recovery Center and recently joined the IHH department.  Josh has two daughters, ages 9 and 7, that keep him plenty busy.  The peer support Josh gives and receives is essential to his recovery.  Helping others find the same quality of support and services he himself receives is Josh’s overhanging goal and why he’s so excited to work with the OCA/NAMI.